SEC is investigating release of forecast on Abercrombie; Retailing


WASHINGTON -- Abercrombie & Fitch Co. said yesterday that the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the clothing retailer's release of a sales forecast last month and that a company executive has been placed on a leave of absence.

The SEC inquiry follows reports that an Abercrombie executive warned one analyst about a sales forecast before it was announced to the public.

"The SEC is conducting an informal inquiry, and the company is fully cooperating," said Roanne Kulakoff, an outside spokeswoman for the company, which has its headquarters in Reynoldsburg, Ohio.

In an informal inquiry, the commission seeks to obtain testimony and documents without using a subpoena.

Lonnie Fogel, investor relations director for Abercrombie & Fitch, was told to take a leave of absence "because of this episode," Kulakoff said.

Fogel is the only Abercrombie executive to be put on this status, she said.

He did not respond to phone messages left at his home.

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